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anthp

Top Dawg II

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Thinking about getting either a Top Dawg II or mini for my girlfriend's Sony HC96.

 

Couple of questions.

 

Are these housings good choices for the camera in question?

 

Does anyone know if it is possible to access the cameras "one touch" manual white balance setting via the LANC interface provided by this housing?

 

I've een watching the thread on MWB using the expodisc. I wonder when they are likely to bring out a waterproof one?

 

Is it possible to use the larger battery pack and the wide angle lens (VCL0630) inside the housing?

 

Which filter do people recommend with this combo - Magic perhaps or URPro?

 

Thanks for your help folks.

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One thing about the Top Dawg, if you can't fit a wide angle lens inside it, is a limited field of view because it's basically just a flat port.

 

As for the Magic Filter, you would be one of the first to try it if you did and you'd have to invent some sort of mounting for it as it's just a disk of gel. Most likely you'd even have to tape it to the front of the camera or the back of the port, or sandwich it between the camera and the wide angle lens. Ur-Pro on the other hand is well tried and tested. You should be able to buy a proper screw-on ur-pro filter for the camera.

 

The Magic Filter is more orangey and the UR-pro CY is more pinkish in comparison. I'm interested myself in a comparison for video use.

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Thanks for your input Nick.

 

To my knowledge, the only other housing manufacturer that supports this camera is Ikelite and I can't tell if you can access MWB via the mechanical touch screen controls. :D

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Ike himself hangs out on here. I think his handle is just Ike but you'll find him by searching some old Ikelite threads. You could send him a pm.

 

The Top Dawg is very similar to my LMI Stingray 2 so if the controls are the same then it definitely doesn't have white balance access. But check with them or the dealers.

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Ahh, thanks for that Nick. I hadn't realised that LANC wouldn't provide MWB access. Will pm Ike.

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Check just in case. Don't take my word for it as my housing it 3 years old and different model.

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Nick, Ikelite website does not indicate that MWB is an accessible feature.

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Hi Anthony

 

I'm almost certain that it's impossible to access MWB on any Sony camcorder through LANC functions.

 

Cheers, Simon

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Thanks Simon for the clarification.

 

Looks like it's a case of AWB or nothing - no matter what the housing. :D

 

Oh well.

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Amphibico does WB through the LANC... not sure they offer a housing for your camera though....

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Thanks Mike - had a look at the website and can't find a housing for the HC96.

 

Thinking she might get a compact digi still instead...

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I wouldn't give up on getting a camcorder. While having MWB is essential to get absolutely the best footage you can (especially for the pros), it's not impossible for enthusiastic amateurs to get good results using preset options and you can always colour correct when editing.

 

A cheaper cam and housing is a good way to get into video, rather than spending the thousands that a top end set up would cost. Just don't get into a sitauation like me, where I'm not allowed to upgrade! (Zoe says hey that one you've got is good enough, why do you want to waste money on a new one?!?!?) :)

 

Ultimately what I'm saying is that you can have still have a lot of fun with video without MWB :D

 

Mike - I'd never heard that any Sony camcorder could have access to MWB through the Lanc. I wonder how Amphibico do it when others can't? Perhaps that's where they spent all their time rather than sorting out the vignetting they get on their housings! :D

 

Cheers, Simon

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Hi Simon,

 

Thanks for the encouragement. I got an email from Ike who got this reply from one of his engineers regarding why white balance wasn't incorporated into the housing:

 

"We discussed whether to add the rods for the white balance controls for the cheaper Sony cameras. The consensus was to only put them on the 3chip and HD cameras if I could. You will need to go through the screen menu to access the white balance feature, and in most cases, the menu screen did not even have the white balance function activated on the screen. The customer would have to add it to the menu, (which they can do), but they have the choice of putting it wherever they want to. There are six different positions in can be put into. I cannot adjust the control rods to do everything on the LCD screen. If we did add it, Then we would have a control on the housing that the customer would not know how to use and then would probably call me. We would need to add the reversing circuit and mirror also. So we decided not to try to add that feature on the cheaper cameras."

 

Seems like a reasonable explanation to me. I'm sure if I made a special requeet, Ike could put the control in for me for a fee.

 

I'm just downloading your video from Nassau Wrecks - Part 3 The Mahoney.

 

Did you use MWB for this vid?

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Wow, just finished watching the vid - so many fish!! Great video technique, excellent sound track (did you do that too?) and really nicely put together.

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Hi Anthony

 

Nope I can't access MWB through the housing that I used on the Mahoney. I've got an Ike housing and Sony PC350. The PC350 is a top end consumer cam (discontinued), but I wouldn't consider it to be prosumer or pro. It will MWB through the touch screen, but much like Ike said in his reply to you it's difficult to access through a housing. (I've tried it with the PC1000 and HC1 models and found it very awkward).

 

I use a UR Pro blue or green water filter and I've experimented with and without lights. I would say that lights are a lot more difficult to get good results from when you don't have MWB, so unless I'm in murky water or at night I rarely use them.

 

The main part (for me) is colour correcting while editing. It takes a bit of practise to get it right (or if not right then as good as you can get it) and it will never be a replacement for MWB while diving, but the results can turn out ok. Most entry level NLE editing software will allow you to do this, but the best value for money in my mind is Premier Elements. You can get better results from Premier Pro or Apples Final Cut, but these are a lot more expensive.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the film! Honestly the Mahoney was one of the best dives I've ever done, I'm just a little sad that no matter how much I enjoy the footage I shot, I still don't think I did it justice. It should have been a 40 min dive and I was still down there after 70 mins when they sent someone back down from the boat to get me! :lol:

 

Cheers, Simon

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Thanks Simon, I haven't played with NLE programs much (other than iMovie) so I didn't realise that they had colour correction options. Take it easy mate and hopefully you don't end up getting bent next time you dive :lol:

I'll look into options for housings...

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:lol: My computer hadn't even started beeping at me by that point!

 

Honestly I was just lost in the moment and had no idea I'd been either down that long, or that everyone else had surfaced. It was a good job that we were with a great dive boat, or I could have been left behind. Well I say that - my wife Zoe was on the boat, but she was so angry with me that she'd have probably let them go!!

 

Cheers, Simon

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Hopefully she has forgiven you now after seeing how beautiful the vid was.

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